The recent COVID-19 pandemic has changed a lot about everyday life, from the things we enjoy on a regular basis to the way we move about in public. It’s also changed the way people view and use commercial bathrooms. With the nation at large still coming to grips with the coronavirus, there’s an even greater focus than ever on cleanliness and hygiene.
According to Bradley Corporation’s Healthy Handwashing Survey, 86% of Americans are more conscious about coming into contact with germs due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Nevertheless, that hasn’t stopped people from using commercial bathrooms. According to the same survey, a mere 13% of Americans completely avoided public bathrooms, while another 37% used them as necessary despite feeling significant discomfort about them.
A sharp increase in handwashing as a result of the coronavirus has also led to more frequent use of public bathrooms. Not only did 90% of Americans surveyed state they’re washing their hands more frequently or more thoroughly, but 57% are washing their hands up to 15 times or more a day. Experts see increased handwashing with soap as a positive trend that goes a long way towards minimizing the spread of coronavirus and the common flu.
Post-Pandemic Commercial Bathroom Trends
In today’s post-COVID-19 world, consumers have higher expectations when it comes to cleaning, sanitization, and functionality in commercial bathrooms. According to the Healthy Handwashing Survey, 69% of American consumers noted that clean commercial bathrooms positively influence their spending and that nearly three out of four shoppers make certain to visit businesses with clean, well-kept bathrooms.
When faced with unsanitary bathrooms, 60% of consumers are likely to immediately leave a business or refrain from making repeat visits. As a result, many businesses are taking proactive steps towards improving overall cleanliness, safety, and user convenience by incorporating a variety of touchless bathroom technologies.
Touchless Hand Washing and Drying
As a growing number of industries adopt touchless technology for customer and employee use, that same technology is also making its way into public bathrooms. As a direct result of the pandemic, more and more Americans desire a hands-free approach to their bathroom experiences, so they can avoid coming into contact with handles, levers, and other commonly touched surfaces.
Touchless hand washing fixtures like the Bobrick B824 SureFlo Top Fill Soap Dispenser come into play to satisfy Americans’ growing desire for a touch-free hand washing experience. These fixtures come equipped with the latest in optimized sensing technology to reduce power usage, enhance accuracy and eliminate false activations. Multiple low-flow and run time options allow businesses to enhance their water savings. There’s even room for data to track usage and reduce maintenance costs.
An ever-increasing number of commercial bathrooms are equipped with air dryers in an effort to provide touch-free drying while eliminating paper waste. For businesses that want to retain paper as an option, units like the Bradley 2027-0000 Bradex paper towel dispenser with waste receptacle provide a touch-free drying and disposal experience.
These and other fixtures also feature sink materials that promote cleanliness while providing greater ease of maintenance. Smooth and nonporous materials featuring seamless cast-formed construction not only offer increased durability and longevity but also help prevent bacteria and mold growth.
A growing number of washbasin models also feature self-cleaning capability to prevent germ and bacteria growth between uses. Some models can be programmed to address stagnant water by purging the piping system with 5-second blasts every 24 hours if the units go unused for that long.
When it comes to positive ROI, touchless commercial bathroom fixtures speak for themselves. Recent studies reveal that 70 percent of Americans are more likely to return to businesses that feature touchless fixtures in their bathrooms.
Touchless All-In-One Hand Washing Systems
More commercial bathrooms are adopting all-in-one handwashing fixtures that combine soap, faucet, and dryer into an integrated unit for greater ease of use and a more hygienic hand washing experience for users. These models eliminate the need for separate fixtures on countertops and walls, leading to a streamlined and more attractive appearance.
These models also eliminate the need for users to move away from the sink to use paper towel dispensers, hand dryers, and open garbage cans with wet hands. In turn, that eliminates water trails on countertops and bathroom floors that not only look messy to bathroom users but also harbors germs while creating slip-and-fall hazards.
Touchless Door Hardware
Touchless door hardware like ASSA ABLOY’s Safer2Open hands-free hardware solutions offers innovative ways to promote a more hygienic bathroom experience. Low-touch mechanical solutions like non-latching arm and foot pulls, latching push/pull paddle trim and hold open devices help minimize contact between users and commonly touched surfaces.
Electromechanical door holders also minimize touch while allowing unencumbered movement through doorways. Finally, fully automated openings using electromechanical hardware provide a completely touchless experience for users, preventing germ transmission while enhancing user satisfaction.
Businesses are also focusing on antimicrobial surfaces that offer natural resistance to a variety of common bacteria and greater ease of cleaning and disinfecting for more robust bacterial growth. For instance, antimicrobial toilet partitions like those offered by Scranton Products not only inhibit bacterial growth and reproduction on partition surfaces but also offer a number of other benefits that help reduce maintenance and wear.
In addition to offering a natural resistance to MRSA and A. baumannii, an opportunistic pathogen commonly responsible for Pneumonia, Scranton Products partitions also showed a significant decrease in Human rhinovirus, Influenza, and Human Coronavirus viral activity within 24 hours of exposure.
Scranton Products also touts their partitions as fully capable of being cleaned via power washing and steam cleaning without any negative effects. Many of the same attributes are also being implemented for anti-microbial diaper changing stations, particularly for parents who are worried about exposing their infants to germs.
Changes in Bathroom Layout
While improvements in bathroom design have helped maximize space and traffic flow, the COVID-19 pandemic has placed a stronger spotlight on modified layouts with a focus on reducing germ exposure via individual containment. Recent changes for commercial bathrooms include increasing toilet partition heights and extending them to the ground to not only create more privacy but to also contain any possible spread of germs. New washbasin designs encourage social distancing by increasing the space between handwashing areas.
A growing number of facilities are also installing sinks outside of bathrooms and within hallways to maximize traffic flow and reduce crowding. Other popular trends include adding automated doors, widening doorways, and eliminating doors altogether.